Try this on – See if it Fits

Hey Women Inspired! We are less than two months away! Then we’re officially official with a name and mission and a plan!

The turnout at our information session February 12 was beyond our expectations. In the meantime, we continue to promote the Women’s Institute on our Facebook Group Page and plan for the March 28 fundraising event to be held in collaboration with Nova Vita.

As of today’s count, about 45 women will attend the March 12 meeting. Number one on the agenda is choosing our name. Then we can finally move forward on paperwork that’s been stacking up. Things like bank accounts and web sites and tattoos* and stuff.

We also want to get a head start on our program for the year. We will brainstorm the charities or causes we will support, speakers, outings, festivities, and fundraising events.

We also want to discuss the roles of branch officers and committee chairs. Traditionally, branch responsibilities have been shared among the executive officers. You know, President and Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and so on. While most branches still choose to be organized this way, it is not mandatory. Branches who wish to share responsibilities among the members must designate someone as Contact person and another as Treasurer.

Once the branch is formed in April we will hold elections. Check out the following positions. Perhaps there is something here you’d like to try on for size.

PresidentPresident 

The Leader of the branch. She runs the meetings and  is hostess of the evening – greets the guests and speakers and new members. The President keeps tabs on projects,  committees and sub groups that form, and basically oversees the branch. If there is enough interest in this position, the role of Vice President can be filled. This gal will fill in for the President when she is unable to attend meetings.

SecretarySecretary

The Secretary prepares the agenda, takes minutes of the meetings and prepares and delivers the written minutes to the members. She passes along any news from the Federation of Women’s Institutes of Ontario (FWIO). She is the primary contact between the branch and the provincial and federal offices. If there is more than one person interested in this role? Yup, you guessed it. A Vice Secretary is elected.

Speaking of minutes: many of our membership are online. But there are few who are not, and it is important that we find a way to keep these gals in the loop. We will set up a buddy system to pair up those with internet with those without.

treasurerTreasurer

This gal is responsible for the finances of the branch. She collects dues, pays the speakers and other service providers, keeps the books and prepares them for audit and presentation at the annual meeting.

Committee 1Advocacy Coordinator

The Advocacy Coordinator is the spokesperson for the branch regarding resolutions. Some of the duties may include: preparing resolutions, acting on local issues and concerns, and working with the Provincial Advocacy Coordinator.

Here is a snippet from the FWIO website.

Women’s Institute Members have been instrumental in establishing new laws and amending existing ones. Our Members voice their concerns and initiate resolutions at the community, provincial, national and international levels.

Historically, FWIO has played a pivotal role in influencing many changes to provincial laws and practices, including:

  • Mandatory stopping for school buses with flashing lights
  • Installation of railway crossing signs
  • Painting of white lines on provincial highways
  • Implementation of easy-to-understand food labels
  • Enforcement of proper use of slow-moving vehicle signs
  • Clear markings on poison containers

Committee 2Membership Coordinator

Some of the duties in this position may include outreach to promote WI at colleges or universities, for example ; speaking engagements or letter writing to attract new members; mentoring new members who join.

Committee 4Public Relations Coordinator 

This gal gets the word out. She writes our media releases to alert the press about our meetings, special events, and otherwise keeps our name in the spotlight. Social media and other writing projects like a blog or website are handled by this position.

ROSE Coordinator

Simply put, ROSE (Rural Ontario Sharing Education) is what Women’s Institutes have been doing for over 118 years – providing education to help build stronger families and vibrant communities.  This unique province-wide initiative is driven by WI Members who often work with local community organizations and businesses to increase awareness, provide support and promote community action.

The ROSE Coordinator promotes education to the branch and community. As long as one person from the public who is not a WI member attends the event, it qualifies as a ROSE program. Some of the duties may include: developing educational programs and activities for the community and promoting and organizing ROSE Sessions. You can read more about ROSE on the FWIO Website.

Tweedsmuir Coordinator

This position will appeal to the historian and the record keeper. She compiles and coordinates Tweedsmuir History Books. Some of the duties may include: writing and editing material and planning and exhibiting the Tweedsmuir Books.

Baroness Tweedsmuir

Susan Buchan, Baroness Tweedsmuir (née Susan Charlotte Grosvenor) (1882–1977) was the wife of author John Buchan. Between 1935 and 1940 she was viceregal consort of Canada while her husband was the Governor General. She was also the author of several novels, children’s books, and biographies, some of which were published under the name Susan Tweedsmuir.

Who or what is a Tweedsmuir? Here’s how the County of Elgin Women’s Institutes explain it:

west lorne TweedsmuirIn the mid 1930s Lady Tweedsmuir, wife of the Governor General began encouraging Women’s Institute branches to preserve the history of their communities in response to what she saw as a rapidly changing and urbanizing landscape. By 1947, local branches across the province were compiling living “scrapbooks” which came to be known as Tweedsmuir Histories. In many ways, the members of the Women’s Institutes were the unofficial archivists of their communities. They acquired records, oral histories, photographs and much more for inclusion in their volumes, leaving us today with an outstanding resource on the history of rural Ontario.  Click on the blue book cover right for a sample of a Tweedsmuir.

The roles listed above are the positions recommended and described on the FWIO website. We expect that we will also need the following positions filled:

  • Program Coordinator plans the content or topic for each meeting. This gal and her team will need to work hand-in-hand with the
  • Event Coordinator/Committee who plan special occasions like summer picnics or fundraising or Champagne Breakfast Celebrations (hint, hint). Both these committees will need to work closely with the
  • Volunteer Coordinator who will organize the helping hands for meetings or events for things like arranging for tea and cookies, organizing cleanup afterward, or finding someone with power tools and the skills to use them.

What do you think? Is there something here that suits you? Drop us a line if you have any more questions or suggestions.

Paris WI

* just kidding**

** then again…

This tattoo adorns the body of the President of the Cambridge Blue Belles WI, UK

This tattoo adorns the body of the President of the Cambridge Blue Belles WI, UK. Click on the image for the blog post.

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The New Brant Women’s Institute

Here’s a blog post I wrote about our Information Open House for our new WI. Lot’s of images, including one from the first Paris WI in 1905.

The Zombies Ate My Brains

arlingtonA week ago, Kate Belair and I had our Women’s Institute Information Open House at the Arlington Hotel. It was a huge success with much excitement and delighted feedback.

Especially from the women at the provincial head office who came to offer support. Kate and I met with them for dinner ahead of the meeting. dinner“How are you doing?” I asked Kate. “Nervous,” she said. “What if no one comes?” I shared her worry. It was a bitterly cold night. Threats of snow squalls. Who would want to be out on a night like that?

Almost 100 women, as it turned out. Doors opened at 7:00 and the women were lined up already. So many, in fact, we had to ask the gals who were already WI to meet elsewhere in the hotel to free up space.

Survey saysWe held the meeting in “Hiram’s Tavern”, the cellar bar of the hotel…

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Take 10 Recipes: Hobo Stew

Ann Mandziuk, FWIC Executive officer, Manitoba writes:

March – we know spring is just around the corner but what can we do about those winter blahs? Challenge yourself to do something different this month. Pick an activity and as a family do it. It could be outdoors, at a community facility or in your own home – just pick something to break up the winter ‘blah’ time. If the weather will co-operate go outdoors and skate, toboggan, walk, or make a snowman. Start a bonfire and cook something outdoors – savour the flavour of the food. What about a games night – no TV/video games, just play board or other games with friends or family. Imagine how some of these ideas can help to grow a healthier you.

WI Recipe: Hobo Stew (Campfire Stew)

  • Ground beef or stew meat cut into small pieces
  • Vegetables of your choosing – corn, green beans, carrots, onions, bell peppers
  • Garlic or onion
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste, or other herbs/spices

Preparation
Tear off a piece of heavy aluminum foil large enough to fold into a pocket to put your ingredients into.
Spray the foil with cooking spray. Add meat first, then vegetables. Top with seasonings and then butter. Close foil on all sides, leaving some room for steam to build. Be sure to mark your packet so it doesn’t get mixed up with anyone else’s.
Put packet into the coals. Cooking time depends on how hot your fire is. I recommend checking in about 10 minutes.

Click on the image for the source and more pictures of how to make Hobo Stew

Click on the image for the source and more pictures of how to make Hobo Stew

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About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Happy Pancake Day! Truly delicious Blueberry Pancakes – worth the effort.  And the giggles.

The Zombies Ate My Brains

blueberry pancakeTwo weeks earlier: 

“I’m going to make blueberry pancakes,”he said.  “There’s a recipe in the Star. Calls for buttermilk. And this time, I’m going to follow the recipe to. the. letter!”

A few days later:

“Did you buy buttermilk?” he said.

“Yup, in the fridge.”

Last night:

“Oh, I forgot to get the blueberries out of the freezer.” he said.

“I think you’ll find that frozen will work better for you.” I suggested.

“Nah, I have a plan.”

“OK…”

This morning: PRE-coffee, this morning

“Who is Lynn Crawford? Google her… Kosher salt? Why KOSHER salt?  The recipe calls for Kosher salt, but doesn’t say how much [it does]Forget it. I’m not using salt anyway.

A moment or two later

“The buttermilk has expired! Two days ago!

A beat

“This buttermilk has salt in it! Now I can`t drink it!”

[CRASH!!]

“Do you need my help out there?”

“I’m fine!”

[Sounds of broken…

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Federation Bulletin for March 2015 – Dates and Events to Remember

fwic logo (350x177)

Included in this issue of the Federation Bulletin is the reminder that a number of deadlines are drawing close. We wrote about the Senator Cairine Wilson and  Tweedsmuir Competitions and the Peace Garden Scholarship last year, if you’d like a refresher.

March 2015 Deadlines

Erland Lee is credited with encouraging Adelaide Hunter Hoodless to speak to the wives of the Farmers’ Institute. From this talk, the first WI was formed in 1897 at the Stoney Creek home of Erland and Janet Lee. The homestead is now owned by the Federation of Women’s Institutes of Ontario and serves as a museum and headquarters of the FWIO.

Erland Lee Competition

erland lee

The FWIC Quilt Draw Sales are well under way. The Quilt Draw is traditionally an important fundraiser for FWIC. The last two conventions both sold nearly 1500 tickets each, raising almost $6000 total! Please continue to sell and promote tickets sales within your province.

Donna Henderson Quilt a

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Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Membership Monday – Today from BC

Today for Membership Monday, I shall provide some highlights from British Columbia WI’s newsletter Vol 153. It is the February/March 2015 issue and for the full report click on the link here:

BCWI 2015 FEB MAR ISSUE

If you are like me, you will find the next bit of news very uplifting. Here is a screen capture of the newsletter:

Did you see that number? 47?

4.

7.

47.

AWESOME!

OK, on to the reports from the assorted branches:

Nicola Valley WI

This paragraph caught my attention:

With the dumping of Biosolids in our area from the Lower Mainland our members plan to protest as individuals as well as preparing a resolution to send to the Provincial WI.

Biosolids? Help? Google?

Biosolids are the treated, stabilized solids resulting from wastewater treatment and are regulated under the BC Environmental Management Act and Health Act.

Stay tuned for more from Nicola Valley WI for updates on this issue.

From the Douglas District, Pemberton WI look forward to WI Week in February when they hold a potluck and annual “fun auction”. Pictured below are the members and some 64 dozen Christmas Cookies.

Fran Cuthbert, Carmen Levefre-Moore, Barb Brooks, Ola & Donna Perkins, Rolande Midgley, Pat Bencharski, Linda Welsh, Rosalinde Young, Shirley Ellingson, Marnie Simons & hostess Judith Walton.

Fran Cuthbert, Carmen Levefre-Moore, Barb Brooks, Ola
& Donna Perkins, Rolande Midgley, Pat Bencharski,
Linda Welsh, Rosalinde Young, Shirley Ellingson,
Marnie Simons & hostess Judith Walton.

Atchelitz WI celebrated their 100th Anniversary on September 6th.  Because of the continued support of the community at fundraising events, they were once again able to donate to many local charities such as The Ride to Conquer Cancer, Salvation Army Food Bank, Chilliwack Hospice Society, BC Agriculture in the Classroom, Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities, Ann Davis Transition House & Sardis Doorway, just to name a few.

Over in Kamloops District, Overlander WI continued their support of local charities. For example, they gave p.j.’s and toiletries to the YWCA Women’s Shelter. Coldstream WI from the North Okanagan Sushwap District declare themselves to be a “crafty bunch.”  I’d say they are a compassionate bunch too. They gathered “gifts of hope” for the clients of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Among several community support activities, Gabriola WI from the north end of Vancouver Island made donations to their local 4H club. At the south end of the island, Colwood WI had a busy year. They were fortunate to be involved in several community events last Fall. For example, the women provided Christmas gifts for the residents of Cockerel House. This is a home for injured Veterans and Colwood WI is proud to able to support the vets in their recovery.

Donna Andrew reports that a wonderful time was had by all at the Olympic View Golf Course where they celebrated Christmas. Unfortunately there are no photos. Apparently, says Donna, “what goes on at the golf course stays at the golf course.”

Claude of Cockerel House receives the Christmas gifts from Carol.

Claude of Cockerel House receives the Christmas gifts from Carol.

Langford WI’s report was a series of images. I’ve arranged them in a gallery here. Hover or click for captions.

Salt Spring Island WI pose the question, “Did you know that it was Spanish women who started the chocolate craze?” To that I answer, “No, I did not, but let me go on record to state, GRACIAS!!” Their report also includes this encouraging financial news: “We were able to more than cover our goal of $6,000.00 for donations, our two scholarships and still have money to start the year 2015.”

Take 10: Jean Paré’s Chocolate Fondue

Yesterday, I posted the highlights from the Saskatchewan WI’s newsletter. In order to keep the length of that post within reason, I decided against including the recipe for Chocolate Fondue. Good thing! Because today’s highlight is the same recipe from British Columbia’s Take 10 Newsletter winging its way toward the members’ email in-boxes.

Chocolate fondue image - click for source.

Chocolate fondue image – click for source.

Chocolate Fondue (Jean Paré)

  • Good quality chocolate bars such as 3 85g Toblerone or 375 ml semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 125 mL cream
  • Orange flavoured liqueur or juice
  • Break chocolate and stir with cream and liqueur/juice over low heat until melted.
  • Transfer to fondue pot.
  • Dip fruit, etc. and enjoy. (Thin with more cream if it thickens)

Dippers: strawberries, raspberries, pears, bananas, grapes, orange sections, apple wedges, pineapple, melon, mini marshmallows, mini cookies, cake or doughnut cubes, etc. Let you imagination run free when thinking of dippers.

FWIC executives

FWIC executive officers enjoyed this recipe at their meeting at the International Peace Garden. What better way to spend a Saturday evening than with chocolate and great women from across Canada!

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Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.